Some states assess a Telecommunication Relay Services fee, TRS, which helps fund services for people with disabilities via devices such as talking phones and digital communication services. According to State Tax Notes: “Most states impose 911 fees to fund capital expenses for the 911 system, and in some cases the fees fund 911 operations as well.”
Some examples of how states and local governments hit you up: California (local utility user tax, state 911, PUC fee, ULTS (lifeline), deaf/CRS, high cost funds A and B, teleconnect fund, CASF-advanced services fund); New York (state sales tax, local sales taxes, MCTD sales tax, state excise tax, MCTD excise surcharge-186e, local utility gross receipts tax, state wireless 911, local wireless 911, MCTD surcharge-184, NY franchise tax-184, school district utility sales tax); Nebraska (state sales tax, local sales tax, city business and occupation tax, state USF, Wireless 911, TRS). As you can see various forms of government are choosing to get in on the hustle. We must find a way to stop this madness as it does nothing to improve the “business” of governing.
The most expensive place to have a cell phone is Nebraska which has a total of 24.49 percent of taxes assessed to your monthly bill. That is almost a dollar out of every four dollars on your bill. Nebraska is closely followed by Washington, New York, Florida, Illinois, Rhode Island, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Maryland. These taxes should not be there. They are there because we don’t have any outrage as they subtlety tack them to our phone charges. Most of us think it is the phone company charging us and not local, state and federal politicians hitting us up. We get mad at T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, etc. But it is not them but politicians hiding behind their “cover.”
Let’s start doing something about this. Tell your politicians “enough already!” Taxation in America is as bad as a European nation. They jump into your pay check big time while find sneaky ways to chip away at your wallet. As President Jefferson once said, “A government that governs least governs best.”
(Harry C. Alford is co-founder, president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Website: http://www.nationalbcc.org. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.)